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Salinity tolerances of endemic freshwater fishes of south-western Australia: implications for conservation in a biodiversity hotspot

Beatty, S.J., Morgan, D.L., Rashnavadi, M. and Lymbery, A.J. (2011) Salinity tolerances of endemic freshwater fishes of south-western Australia: implications for conservation in a biodiversity hotspot. Marine and Freshwater Research, 62 (1). pp. 91-100.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF10100
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Abstract

Secondary salinisation represents an important threat to terrestrial and aquatic habitats throughout the world. In south-western Australia, widespread salinisation of waterways has caused large range reductions in the highly endemic freshwater fish fauna. We hypothesised that differences in the distributions of three fish species within the salinised Blackwood River would be related to their salinity tolerances. Galaxias occidentalis was widespread throughout the catchment, whereas Nannoperca vittata was restricted to the main channel and freshwater tributaries of the lower catchment, and Nannatherina balstoni was restricted to those tributaries and a perennial section of the main channel that received a considerable amount of fresh groundwater. Acute salinity tolerances (Effect Concentrations) of G. occidentalis and N. vittata were similar (EC50 ∼14.6gL-1), but significantly greater than that of N. balstoni (EC50 ∼8.2gL-1). The greater geographical range of G. occidentalis, compared with N. vittata, may be a consequence of the dispersal capability of the former species, and the lower salinity tolerance of N. balstoni contributes to its highly restricted range. The findings demonstrate that secondary salinisation has greatly impacted these freshwater fishes, and fresh groundwater refuges, predicted to decrease due to reduced rainfall, appear crucial in maintaining remnant populations.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Fish Health Unit
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2011 CSIRO
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4023
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